When I left for Italy last May to travel with a dear friend it was on a wish and a prayer. The prayers of many, actually. I had been sick with severe anemia for almost a year due to a myoma. Most days I could not leave my house without worrying about bleeding through my clothes from hemorrhaging. I was supposed to have an outpatient surgery to remove the fibroid three weeks before we left for our vacation.
On the appointed date, I changed into my hospital gown and waited nervously in the pre-op room until the doctors came in with devastating news. My hemoglobin was too low-7.2. It was too risky to operate. I was too sick. I cried as the surgeon told me that the surgery I needed so badly would have to be delayed.
Since we had already purchased our airline tickets back in October and had been planning this trip for months, I decided to go anyway. Pale and physically exhausted from constantly losing so much blood, my emotional health had started to decline as well. I was tired. I began to think I would never feel normal again. I was scared. Scared of not being able to trust my own body, yet determined not to let my condition keep me in bed. Italy was exactly what I needed.
The entire month we were in Italy I was in normal health. For a miraculous four weeks, the bleeding stopped. As we toured ancient ruins and stuffed our faces with pasta I slowly began to regain my strength. I could walk up a flight of stairs without feeling dizzy, a touch of color started coming back into my cheeks; I started recognizing myself in the mirror. Italy ignited a spark of hope and I began to believe that I could be well again.
I finally did have surgery later that August and not only did the surgery go well but I have been in perfect health ever since. God knew I needed a respite from my suffering and He allowed me the perfect vacation to show me that He still cared. I will always see this time as a turning point in my life, as a light that began to penetrate a dark tunnel of despair.
Each day I spent in Italy my spirit began to more fully inhabit my body as I absorbed the beauty of my surroundings like a sponge. I felt whole. The closer I get to that source of Light the faster I run towards it, asking for more. More joy, more love, more hope. More knowlege of cultures and far away places and the opportunity to share them with others. May the Source of all things continue to transform my heart from the inside out as I walk this journey seeking Wholeness.